The Arco Floor Lamp – Design ideas
Designed by brothers Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni for Flos in 1962, the Arco Floor Lamp is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The sweeping arc of its stainless steel stem and aluminum bowl shade is supported by a heavy square block of Carrara marble. This light gives you the ability to add gentle but focused light in any area which is not sufficiently covered by fixed lighting in a room and adds a strong design element to any setting. While it’s prominent arc is certain to be noticed, the gentle curve adds touch of softness to rooms dominated by straight lines and hard corners. Bear these concepts in mind when deciding on how to get the best effect of this lamp in a room:
• Space. Used on its own, the Arco floor lamp creates pools of cool lighting; the resultant darker areas in the room give the impression of additional space. This is especially useful in a room with low ceilings or any area that feels confined. Remember the height of the shade – use it in areas out of walkways or above seating to avoid accidental contact.
• Shape. The arc of the stem sets a form in any room which just begs to be repeated – additionally the base is rectangular and adds both balance and contrast to the circular shape. Place the lamp where it is prominent when entering the room to create a great first impression. Adding circular coffee- or side tables is a practical way of continuing the circular theme- even better when the tables have glass finishes and chromed frames. Rectangular sofas accentuate the curve of the stem and fit in with its marble base.
• Silhouette. During daylight or when other lights are on in the setting, the curved stem of the light is very eye-catching due to its stainless steel finish and the area that it occupies in the room. To enhance this, adding other furnishings or décor with shiny metal finish will make it even more prominent. Set the base so that the arm is highlighted by a white or dark wall as a backdrop – it’s the same principle as setting a picture in a frame.
• Shadows. The lamp provides soft lighting for areas where you need it or on decorative spots requiring literal highlighting. Use it in conjunction with the main lighting in your room for practical use or on its own to create a soft and spacious mood in the room. Be wary of setting the light behind seating as the shadows thrown by its circular bowl can be straining on the eyes. Dropping the level of the shade or tilting it will reduce glare or direct light in your eyes.
• Surface. The shine of the stainless steel frame fits in easily in most styles of décor. Use additional chromed pieces in the setting to continue the theme, particularly if your style is minimalistic or you want the appearance of clean lines in the room. Clear glass will add to a feeling of smoothness and order.
• Style. The lamp is versatile and can be used with many distinct styles of furniture. Chose between the squared base or the strong arc; alternately use the metal or marble finish as the accent in the room. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination or your personal preferences.
The timeless Arco Floor Lamp is a perfect example of a well designed furniture piece which incorporates both form and function. The polished aluminum shade is beautifully balanced by a heavy marble base and supported by a curved stainless steel stem. It is a highly decorative and stylish addition to any home and will require little cleaning as it has a small footprint, but there are some specifics to bear in mind for this practical miracle of modern design. Here are some important tips to bear in mind.
• The Carrara marble base weighs well over 100 pounds. Use floor protectors under it as any movements on a hard floor surface are guaranteed to damage both the marble and the floor it rests on.
• When ordering one of these lamps, discuss the delivery policy in advance, as some companies will do curbside deliveries only. Getting a heavy block of marble into an apartment on a rainy afternoon may not be your idea of fun.
• Placing this heavy base on a carpet is sure to leave a permanent indentation on it. Avoid setting the base in a visible area if you intend moving it later. Adding a soft protector to the underside may minimize long term damage and steaming the carpet will restore the pile to some types of fiber. Speak to a flooring professional for more tips if you are uncertain of the type of carpet.
• Be aware that this lamp normally needs to be assembled and requires a bit of mechanical-mindedness to understand the slider assembly. If this is not your strong point, get the store to do an onsite assembly for you or get friendly with a neighbor. The good-looking unattached neighbors are generally the best ones to get help from.
• The original design incorporates a foot switch on the power cord, so setting the base in an inaccessible area is going to make life difficult.
• That little hole running through the marble base is not a quirk of design, but actually has a practical purpose – the Castiglioni brothers who designed it, added it specifically to make moving the heavy base possible. By inserting a broomstick through the base, two people can lift and move it to a different location. A vacuum cleaner is not a suitable improvement for the broom in this specific case.
• The lamp is adjustable, but it is tall. Check dimensions to make sure that it will fit into the intended space, particularly when low ceilings or restricted overhead clearance is involved.
• Bear in mind that marble is a soft mineral and will chip and stain easily. A regular application of clear furniture wax will protect it from staining or damage.